What strange foods have you eaten?
MY ELDEST SON (my Wingman of my hillwalking adventures) is just back from a business trip to Paris, France. Whilst he was there he partook of one of the local delicacies: escargot - snails to you and me!
Now snails are not very appetising to most people outside of France. The thought of eating a slimey, rubbery, creature like a snail turns most folk's stomach but in actual fact, they're not that bad.
How do I know this? Well, as it happens, I have also eaten snails! A few years ago Mrs Kasman and I were invited to dinner in a posh hotel by some new friends of ours. The menu was in French. Now I don't actually speak French but I can work out what most items on a menu are and one of the starters was 'escargot' which I knew was snails.
So, in an attempt to impress our new-found friends with my culinary sophistication, I ordered 'escargot' as a starter (Mrs Kasman wisely chose orange juice). Now I didn't really know what to expect but when the dish arrived I could hardly believe my eyes - the snail was complete on the plate; it looked exactly like a snail would look if you came across it sliming its way along a woodland trail.
Closer examination revealed that it was actually sliced into many thin slices and had in fact been cooked, sliced up and reassembled into a complete (and rather nauseating) very lifelike snail but at least it wasn't crawling about the plate!
I wasn't particularly enthused by my choice but I didn't want to look like a complete fraud in front or our friends so I closed my eyes and stabbed a slice with my fork.
Fortunately, the escargot had been dressed with a very nice vinaigrette dressing and wasn't as disgusting as it looked - in fact it was quite nice. I didn't manage to finish them but at least I didn't throw up at the table!
Afterwards our hostess asked me if I had enjoyed the meal. What could I say other than 'Yes, it was very nice' . She then said that she thought I had been very brave in choosing the escargot - she wouldn't touch it under any circumstances!
Ah well, at least I can say I have eaten snails - even if they do look disgusting!
PS: On his travels my Wingman (who has an adventurous stomach) has eaten not only escargot but also frog's legs, deep fried crickets, chocolate covered ants, dog kebabs and several other unsavoury (to the western mind) dishes!
Image Credit » Kasman
MegL wrote on December 4, 2018, 6:43 PM
Yes, I have eaten snails in France too but I don't think they were escargots, probably more like periwinkles. It was a once-off. Been there, done that, don't need to try them again, type of experience. They didn't make me ill but neither were they something I yearned for over again. I am not sure that I would have even started to eat them if they had looked like your escargot! Very brave!1
Kasman wrote on December 4, 2018, 6:54 PM
Mine was the proper edible snail (Helix pomatia). It was about four inches long with a nobbly skin and I don't mind admitting that it took a lot of willpower to take the first bite. After that it wasn't too bad but, like you, I wouldn't be keen to eat them again!
VinceSummers wrote on December 4, 2018, 8:15 PM
When I was a kid (that is to say, when I didn't know any better...) I ate and enjoyed frogs' legs. Now what I ate and hated, and was forced by Mom to eat, was cow brain. Oh, yech! I never forgave her for that one. It tasted like smoky hot whipped cream. Double blech!1
What I love that many will not touch is creamed kidney over toast.
Kasman wrote on December 4, 2018, 9:00 PM
Kidney and liver are two things I simply won't eat. As for brains . . . no way would I eat that either!
MegL wrote on December 5, 2018, 3:05 AM
One of my grandmothers used to make brawn, brains in aspic or gelatine. I tried it once but spat it out. Yuck!
MegL wrote on December 5, 2018, 3:07 AM
I used to love fried calves liver with onions, gravy and cabbage. I was anaemic in those days and I think my body needed it .
VinceSummers wrote on December 5, 2018, 9:32 AM
Which is why I was forced to eat liver. The doctor gave me shots and told Mom to feed me liver at least once a week. I hated the stuff. Funny how, in next to no time, I loved it. I probably hated it originally because of what it was and its pre-cooked appearance. It's great!1
VinceSummers wrote on December 5, 2018, 9:32 AM
ANYTHING in gelatine is awful. Only Jell-o is any good.
VinceSummers wrote on December 5, 2018, 9:34 AM
I'd forgotten... I once ate whelk. You know, that pink stuff, pink sea snails. Just erasers. Not worth eating.
MegL wrote on December 5, 2018, 12:46 PM
LOL. When I roast a chicken, I save the -drippings in the bottom of the pan. As it cools it settles out into a solid lower part and the fat on top. I remove the fat and use the solid lower part (gelatine) in my soup, The soup is mainly made from the stock produced by slow cooking the carcass for 36 to 48 hours. The soup is delicious and very good for you because of the extra protein.
VinceSummers wrote on December 5, 2018, 3:20 PM
Ah. I keep all the fat! Chicken fat is great stuff. But then, there are differing perspectives. I wouldn't think of skimming it off or spooning the solid off.
Kasman wrote on December 5, 2018, 3:55 PM
No, it isn't! I can't stand anything about liver. Not the look of it, the smell of it uncooked, the smell of it cooked nor (especially) the taste of it. I believe I have only tried to eat liver once and that was when I was a child. It didn't go down well - in fact it didn't go down at all! If there was an emoji for throwing up there would be a whole row of them here!
VinceSummers wrote on December 5, 2018, 4:15 PM
I felt the same way toward scallops. Yet, as an adult, I came to appreciate them. I literally did (perhaps due to mental self-stimulation) get sick when I ate them as a child.
MegL wrote on December 5, 2018, 6:42 PM
There's plenty of fat in the soup. The vegetables are fried slowly in butter before I even add the stock!
VinceSummers wrote on December 5, 2018, 9:21 PM
Interesting! You cook the veggies ahead. Say, if you come up with a truly scrumptious recipe for Chinese dumplings in chicken-leak style broth, I'd love to hear of it. I've been hungering for a handwarming bowl of something like that for some time.
MegL wrote on December 6, 2018, 11:08 AM
I can certainly publish my recipe for the chicken leek style broth, which is basically what everyone in Northern Ireland calls "soup". I can't help with Chinese dumplings but maybe you already know how to make those or can get a recipe elsewhere.1
AliCanary wrote on December 10, 2018, 1:41 AM
My husband and I recently tried a very fancy little restaurant recently for our wedding anniversary, and they had escargots, so I thought, "What the heck", and ordered them as an appetizer to share. Well, they were not exactly rubbery, just firm--texturally, they were like eating crayfish. However, unlike crayfish, which are delicious, the escargots had a very earthy taste of which I was not terribly fond. Furthermore, they were absolutely awash in a very strong garlic sauce, probably to mute the taste. I like garlic, but this was a LOT. Last but not least, my husband, who'd had escargots before in France, declared that they were mediocre and stopped eating them, leaving me to gamely finish the rest of the dish on my own. Gahh. My take on it is that if you have to add that much garlic to make something edible, perhaps it shouldn't be considered food!1
AliCanary wrote on December 10, 2018, 1:45 AM
Oh, scallops are SO good! I can't stand liver, though--tastes way too strong for me. My dad used to love to eat chicken livers. Oogh :-Q1
AliCanary wrote on December 10, 2018, 1:48 AM
Besides it sounding disgusting, I'd be terrified to eat brains. That's how you can get mad cow disease (Creutzfeldt-Jakob Syndrome, in people).1
AliCanary wrote on December 10, 2018, 1:49 AM
I do colon, dash, capital Q. It looks like someone with their tongue hanging out in disgust :-Q
AliCanary wrote on December 10, 2018, 1:51 AM
You can probably purchase the dumplings frozen at an Asian food store, if you don't mind their not being fresh. We get them that way and are happy enough.1
MegL wrote on December 10, 2018, 1:57 AM
Thanks. I might look out for those.
MegL wrote on December 10, 2018, 2:00 AM
Very brave. Well at least the garlic was good for you! LOL
VinceSummers wrote on December 10, 2018, 7:36 AM
Deep fried, yummy! When I go to all-you-can-eat Wood Grill (both me and my son), we "pig out" on chicken livers.
VinceSummers wrote on December 10, 2018, 7:39 AM
Your last statement is one I have uttered, myself. Two other ingredients sometimes used to make a food acceptable is XS sage or pepper.
Kasman wrote on December 10, 2018, 5:14 PM
I agree with your last statement. Interestingly, many people in the western world add sauces such as ketchup to foods such as burgers. Is this an attempt to make palatable an otherwise bland dish?
VinceSummers wrote on February 2, 2019, 7:42 AM
Precisely, although my youngest grandson delights in eating spoonfuls of JUST ketchup (remember when they called the stuff catsup?).1
AliCanary wrote on March 14, 2019, 6:27 PM
Maybe so, because honestly, I think burgers ARE pretty bland. Whenever I make burgers, I always make sure to mix the meat with chopped onions or season it nicely with salt and pepper or garlic and basil.